OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 29 Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)

Section 406 Information current

The employer must update or obtain a new MSDS when the preparation date of the sheet is more than three years old. However, according to the Hazardous Products Act, the supplier is under no obligation to provide a new MSDS if there has been no new sale of the product. Despite this, most suppliers are prepared to send an updated MSDS or, alternatively, may be willing to send a letter to the employer listing their products for which there has been no change to the MSDS.

If an employer cannot obtain an up-to-date MSDS from a supplier and the information contained in the MSDS has not changed, the employer can meet their obligations under section 406 if:
(a) the employer obtains a letter from the supplier indicating that there has been no change in the information contained in the MSDS;
(b) the letter received must be typed on the supplier’s letterhead;
(c) the letter received must be physically attached to the old MSDS at the work site;
(d) the letter must specifically identify the controlled product; and
(e) there has been no new sale of the product.

If the updated information cannot be obtained from the supplier, the obligation to update the MSDS then falls on the employer. The employer must review and revise the MSDS by completing a literature review or with current information from the manufacturer.

Where an employer prepares an MSDS for a product made and used at the employer’s work site, the employer is responsible for reviewing and updating the information as appropriate. The MSDS must be updated within 90 days of new information becoming available, and at least every three years. “Available” means that the person responsible for preparing the MSDS has the information or could reasonably obtain it.

While the employer may not have tested the product, test results may be available from others who manufacture and use the product elsewhere. A reasonable search of the available literature must be done as well. The applicable information to be added is information relevant to the safe handling, storage, use or disposal of the product. Careful professional judgment must be used when determining applicability.